How many of you started with BW photography in a darkroom

Started May 28, 2003 | Discussions thread
Dave Angel
Contributing MemberPosts: 886
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Re: How many of you started with BW photography in a darkroom
In reply to rfc, May 31, 2003

Thanks for starting this thread. I developed my own black and white pictures in the 50's and 60's, loading my own cartridges from 100 foot rolls, usually of Tri-X, but sometimes Pan-x. Started 127, then several different 35mm cameras - Argus, Aires, Rikoh, Pentax. I also got a 16mm Minolta, but could never get quality out of that. My enlarger lens just wasn't up to that much magnification. It was an old camera lens, mounted in a cigar-box frame and clipped to the enlarger, which was a 2.5 x 4 format.

I remember the smell of the chemicals, and watching the image come up in the Dektol. I also remember ruined pictures when my sister would turn on the cellar light (we didn't have any partitions, just curtains for the nearby window). But the real hassle to me was trying to get glossies not to stick to the heated dryer plate. If it was the least bit dirty (like prints weren't washed well enough) the print might stick, and get ruined. I switched to blotter rolls, when I didn't absolutely need the highest gloss. Resin coated paper came later, when it was too late for me.

The other pain was when they started staking the cartridges, so you had to ruin them to get the film out. Once I had worn out all my older cartridges, I had to actually buy special empty (reusable) cartridges.

I took pictures for the school newspaper, but afterwards though that perhaps my main qualification for the job was that I could deliiver prints Saturday morning from a Friday night game or event.

Years later I was visiting someone else's darkroom, and discovered resin-coated papers, and cam driven enlargers, which automatically refocused the lens as you moved the head up and down. Such luxuries.

Strange thing, digital has reawakened the possibility of taking dozens of shots for each one worth printing. When I bulk-loaded B&W film, it cost about a penny a shot. 8 bucks for the 100 foot roll, plus the chemicals to develop.

RFC wrote:

I started my hobby over 20 years ago with black and white photography.

All the memories of:

Fixer stains on my clothes
bulk loading my own tri-x film
spending hours in a dark room

I guess this shows how old I am. LOL

Even in todays digital age, it is nice to see that BW photography
still has its magic. This simple photo taken with a Nikon D100,
spot metered

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DaveA

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